It’s been a while since you’ve heard from me.  I need to tell you about the rest of my trip to Russia, but first I better explain those u-tube videos you may have seen on Twitter.

They were made after a game of lapta.  What’s lapta you ask?  It’s a cross between baseball, longball, & British bulldog.  You use a bat that’s a bit thinner than a baseball bat.  You hit the ball (a lot harder than it looks) and then run as hard as you can to the other end of the ground.  The opposing team tries to hit you with the ball (they throw the ball at you).  

Our local guide in Tyumen organised a game with some locals, and a Russian tv crew came and recorded our game and interviewed us for our thoughts on Russia.  The particularly seemed to want to highlight our visit to Siberia.  

The videos you saw from Twitter though were done separately for a blog.  I would send you the link to the blog, but last time I was on it the site was advertising “Siberian Princesses”.  The blog is being done by a girl who used to work in the USA, but has returned to Russia to marry her “politician” boyfriend.  I put politician in ” ” because this boy was way too young to be a politician, and if you were marrying a politician would you have a blog bagging out your country and advertising siberian girls?  We decided “politician” was code for Russian mafia.  The mafia had been on our mind since we witnessed a dodgy deal on the side of the road.  I became known on the trip for my imaginative stories about people.  We would be waiting around and I’d say “see those people over there he’s… and she’s…”.  I’m a bit worried that I’m turning into Dad as he used to do that all the time.

Anyway we had just got off a bus in the middle of nowhere in Siberia and two cars pulled up on the side of the road and I said, “see those cars over there, they are from the mafia…”

Well strike me down if the next thing that happens is the car boots go up.  There was an exchange of goods, handshakes and an exchange of money.  It could have been entriely innocent, but why conduct a business transaction on a side road in Siberia…  Anyway, because of my imagination we were were suddenly mafia conscious.

Opps, I’ve diverted from my original story.  I really am taking after Dad.

So the first video link I sent is of me explaining what we noticed about Russia.  We had to come up with a name for our lapta team and I had suggested the “Dills”.  Which we ended up going with.  Why dills?  Well we’ve been suffering from death by dill on this trip.  Everything has dill in it, tomatoes, potatoes, chicken is served with dill, soup with dill, salad with dill…  And most of us weren’t dill fans.  The second reason for the name was that we were of course going to be dills at the game.

I can sadly report that we were terrible.  Our best player was John Nic the Canandian, then the husband and wife from Australia.  As you know I’m quite competitive and I hate sucking at sport.  I sucked!  Although by the end of the game I had worked out how to hit the ball.

The most embarassing thing was that we were all useless at catching and throwing the tennis ball.  What has happened to our back-yard cricket skills???

At least the Russians got a good laugh and the afternoon was great fun.  The next day I was so sore and couldn’t walk.

Best wishes and lots of love


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